There is a third player at the end of the bench this year in a redshirt, joining Grant Weatherford and Basil Smotherman. He is not quite as well known, however.
Jon McKeeman - Sr.
Fort Wayne, IN (Carroll HS)
6'1", 190 pounds
2015-16 Projection: Redshirt
It is a shame when seniors, especially hardworking walk-ons, see their careers limited by injuries. A broken hand early last season saw Neal Beshears miss most of the walk-on games and he played just one minute all year because Indiana is the only team we blew out by enough to get the walk-ons in during Big Ten play. This year McKeeman is in a similar state, but he will officially take a medical redshirt after having surgery for a sports hernia in October.
So far in his career McKeeman has played in 11 games. As a freshman in 2012-13 he was the mysterious player that played a single minute against Western Illinois in the CBI before anyone even knew he was on the roster. The next year he played in five games and scored all five of his career points. He splashed a triple and hit a regular basket all against Central Connecticut State when the Boilers topped 100 points.
Last season McKeeman played in five games and led Purdue with a total of 8 trillion. For those that don't know, a trillion is a walk-on stat created by Mark Titus for players that get in the game, but don't log any stats except minutes played. He had a 3 trillion against Samford, a 4 trillion against Grambling, and a 1 trillion against Indiana. He ruined a 4 trillion against Arkansas State with a foul and a turnover.
More important, McKeeman is ridiculously smart. He has been on the Big Ten All-Academic Team twice and has earned the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award for men's basketball each of the last two years. In 2013-14 he did so while carrying a 4.0 in Movement and Sport Sciences.
I can understand McKeeman's desire to redshirt even as a walk-on. Given Purdue's scholarship situation going into next season it seems very possible that, like walk-ons before him, he could get awarded the "extra" scholarship Purdue has, and that means a free year of grad school. Wouldn't you do that?